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I wake up with a crick in my neck. It's not an unfamiliar feeling to me. It happens whenever I can't sleep or I'm overly tense. It's as if I spent the entire night fighting my demons or trying to swim through quicksand.

All day at work I feel the tension in my back, shoulders, and neck. As I draft circuitous contracts and make meaningless phone calls, the tension only worsens. I feel as if I can't quite catch my breath.

At home, I feed the boys. I wipe away spills. I clean thrown food. I broker toy treaties and set lines of demarcation for play.

I clean up poop. From Hollis. From his brother. From the floor. From the furniture. A potty training battle ground. My dignity the casualty of war.

I bathe them. I force their little squirmy bodies into pajamas, a diaper, and a pull-up.

The boys and their frenetic energy don't slow as I clean their dishes, pick up their toys, fold their clothing.

And finally, wearily, I slide down to the floor in the playroom. I sit with knees up to my chest, arms around my ankles and chin upon my knees. A precarious, protective balance as I watch my boys play, chasing each other in circles around the room.

Holden veers out of the endless loop towards me, running pell-mell. I brace myself for impact, to be pulled into the game, tightening my arms and legs against his assault. But Holden slows, grabs on to me. I feel his little arms circle my back and legs.

He lays his head on my shoulder. My breath catches, stops.

I pull my arms up to hold him, to capture this moment, but he's elusive, a slippery sort of toddler. He wriggles backward from my grasp and pauses before turning. He flashes me a quicksilver smile and runs back to chase his brother.

And then I exhale.

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Blogger KC said...

Sometimes the draining of our energy never stops it seems. I hope you get some rest- I think a spa day is in order.

Blogger Snoskred said...

This post makes me miss my nephews. I remember those kinds of special moments. Kids are slippery, aren't they? When you try to grab on and extend that moment, often they disappear out of your hands, just like that.

I'm sitting here at the moment with the oil burner on, inhaling lemongrass, lime, mandarin and frankincense. It's such a beautiful smell and it's relaxing me.. :)


Blogger slouching mom said...

Slippery. What a wonderful, perfect word for it.

I'm so sorry you're stressed, mama. The toilet training is enough all on its own, isn't it!

Anonymous Emily said...

Next time I have a day like yours, I'll be back to read this again. I am so tired -- I get up to write before the boys wake up. I write during nap time. I have part time help, but the book is a full time job. I cannot dial it back because I want to be finished with the emotionally draining part of drafting. So, when I read your post, I am comforted to know I am not alone. But, I wish you weren't under so much stress. It is a sucky place to be.

And, yes, the slippery almost-3's hugs sure do help.

Blogger InTheFastLane said...

Sometimes all of life is slippery. Hang on as best you can.

Blogger thailandchani said...

You are a very good writer! I felt this.. the slippery-ness... and the tiredness.



Blogger Amy W said...

I miss it that Ashley no longer lays her head on my shoulder...

Great post.

Blogger Mamma said...

You captured that perfectly.

I have nothing to offer other than you're not alone.

It is the moments, the small moments isn't it?

Anonymous mayberry said...

You said it, sister. I am in such a fog today trying to juggle everything.

Blogger Kyla said...
Blogger QT said...

I agree with whoever said you need a spa day, or at LEAST a massage, woman. Happy Momma = Happy babes.

Wishing you some relaxation.

Blogger Lady Liberal said...

Hang in there, lil' mama...
The little moments of light and love are hard to find in the mess of the everyday. But so so good when they come along. :)
Wishing you some peace and quiet time of your own...

Blogger Brillig said...

I love this: "My dignity the casualty of war"

That's exactly how I'm feeling today.

Blogger Jenn said...


I'm rubbing your shoulders from all the way over here.

Blogger Christine said...

this was a wonderfully written and expressed piece. i so know that crick in the neck tenseness. take care.

Blogger Alpha DogMa said...

"Quicksilver Smile."

Blogger ewe are here said...

Perfect. Just perfect.

I know that scenario well! Potty training seems like a never ending HELL! However....it will end one day...and then you can blackmail them with stories of what they did as toddlers.

Right after I got home from our trip to New Orleans...Junior Mayhem was an ANIMAL! It took less than a hour with him to undo the weekend full of relaxation! Then...right when I was contemplating packing my suitcase and leaving again..he ran up..hugged me and said, "Mommy...I am SO glad you are home..I MISSED you!" I would have started to cry...but less than 30 seconds later..he was throwing a temper tantrum!

KIDS! You need a massage!

Blogger flutter said...

I am so reconsidering the kid thing. Then I got to where he laid his head on your shoulder and my heart melted and made me want them again....*sigh*

You, on the other hand, need a massage. Bad.

Yes, I understand...great post!

Blogger Julie Pippert said...

(((HUGS))) you lovely woman, mom, and friend you.

Beautifully bittersweet.

Blogger Karianna said...

Oh, the exhaustion! Feel better soon. (I HATE potty training.)

Blogger Busy Momma said...

Oh I just love the way you write. That last bit about watching the boys play, I could FEEL that moment. I think my breath actually stopped when you wrote that and then exhaled when you wrote.
I hope you are able to find some peace.

Blogger Treadmillista said...

It is almost like you are living my life sometimes. I love that you got the reward of a brief cuddle, even if it was fleeting.

Cleaning poop never gets old does it?

Blogger Kevin Charnas said...

As exhausting as that all sounded, it was rather beautiful too...

So many other people are wiped out from worrying about nonsense. But, the job your doing is one of the most (if not THE most) important ones around; you're raising people.

Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

Oh man, this made me all teary. Perfectly said, my friend.

Lovely post. You seem to have captured the stress of everyday life with kids in a perfect, perfect way.

Blogger moosh in indy. said...

What are you? A lawyer and a mama?
I call you my damn hero.

Blogger newnorth said...

That was beautiful!

Blogger Mary-LUE said...

Such is life, isn't it?

Blogger jen said...

oh, sister. if we lived closer we'd sneak out for a drink. it is exhausting sometimes. you are heroic.

Blogger Queen Heather said...

Awww, that is so sweet.

Great post!

Blogger Gunfighter said...

Hang in there, LM... One thing I can guarantee, is that H & H will grow... and although you'll still have all the other things that a mom has to do, there will be less poop to clean up.

Blogger Binky said...

Loved the pacing of this post. It really drives home the message. Here's to little arms.

Blogger Part time Mommy said...

I'm feeling that crick and the tention in my neck and shoulders today too. Sending a nice massage to you.

I admit it, I'm crying over here. I live for those slippery little moments. That's what life's about after all.

Blogger Jen M. said...

"My dignity a casualty of war"

That was really well put.

Where is our virtual masseuse so we can get her over to you, pronto? Helga?

Blogger Worker Mommy said...

Hi Lawyer Mama

The Queen of Mayhem commanded me to come here some time ago but laziness , being busy... something kept me from coming until now.

But glad I did as I can absolutely relate to the stress. It's a never ending labor of love.

I hope you are able to take some time for you very soon!

Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

KC - You're right. It's never ending.

Snoksred - Ah, that sounds heavenly.

SM - Thanks. Your words of praise mean the world to me. Toilet training will be the death of me, I swear.

Emily - Ah, yes. What you are doing is just as draining as what I do, more so maybe because of the emotional content of your posts. It's nice to know that others understand.

ITFL - Yes, it is.

Chani - Thank you!

Amy - Thank you.

Amie - Thank you. Yes, yes it is.

Mayberry & Kyla - I'm so glad you understand.

QT - I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for that massage!

LL - Yes, it's those moments we live for.

Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

Brillig, Christine & Jenn - Thank you for understanding.

AD - Thank you. I think that phrase describes his smile to me perfectly. It's not often I find the perfect phrasing.

Ewe - Thank you!

Heather & Flutter - Again with the massage! I do need one. Or I need another weekend of hanging out with my girls & getting drunk. Only with more sleep this time.

Jennifer & Karianna - THANK YOU!

Julie, my friend. You always make me smile. Thanks.

Busy Momma - Thank you. I'm glad you could feel it.

Treadmill - Ah, the poop. It's a glamorous life we lead, isn't it?

Kevin - Damn it. Don't make me cry! Thank you. That was very sweet.

Mrs. Chicky, MotR - Thank you. Thank you!

Moosh - I think I love you now.

NewN - Thank you!

Marylue - Yes, yes it is.

Jen - Yes, drinks would be fabulous.

Heather - Thanks!

Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

GF, my friend. Thanks. It's nice to know there's a light at the end of the tunnel of poop.

Binky & PT Mommy - Thank you. And yes, here's to little arms and slippery toddlers.

Jen M - Thanks! And yes, where the hell is Helga???

Worker Mommy - Thank you so much. And thank you for coming by! What the Queen demands, must be done!

Really, thank you everyone for your comments. I have to admit that I wrote this post only 2 days after coming back from Chicago. Then, of course, I obsessively edited it to death until I had to post it before I cut it down to two words, "Poop sucks," and a photo.

Blogger Mimi said...

I curl up like that sometimes, too. But don't those brief hugs just throw you a lifeline? Phew.

Anonymous Paige said...

Are we in sync? I feel like I've been living my own form of this post this week.


All I can do is tell myself it gets better.

Hugs to you,

Blogger Ally said...

"A potty training battle ground. My dignity the casualty of war."

I loved this line, which left me waffling between laughter and tears. I can relate. I've spent the last 24 hours helping my girls through bouts of throw-up. Dignity, what dignity?

try to think happy, relaxing thoughts. get some insense and a bottle of wine!!!

Blogger ExPatSW said...

Your writing brought it all back to me...the days, nights, weeks when I was so exhausted I could barely function. But, savour those times; they last for such a short time. I wish that I had spent more time experiencing those days and less time just getting through them.

I miss y'all.

Anonymous Nancy said...

This is beautiful and poignant. Thanks for sharing.

Blogger Zuska said...

It gets better ... I promise.

I was tired and lonely when mine were so little, and their poop was consuming me.

Now they're older, and so independent. Sometimes, they need help, still. And it ends up nice. Strange word. But to be needed, still, when they are in the middle grades IS nice.

And that time will be here before you know it!!!

I won't say, "relish this time while it lasts," b/c honestly, I don't even remember it. I remember the tired, but not what was nice.

Just know that as they get older, things DO get easier. There is (of course) still stress, but it isn't poopy-stress.


Blogger Mrs. Chicken said...

Yes, exactly.

Thank you for stopping by and lending your support.

It is comforting to know I'm not weathering the storm alone.


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